What's the difference between Levi's Vintage and Made & Crafted?
With LVC, we consider ourselves custodians of Levi's history. I see us as a creative research unit, with the white lab coats on, translating all the quality, construction and materials of the past into today. Everything is made to the exact specs of the original designs. The trend of Americana might fade away, but what stays is the exceptional relevance of well-made clothing. Made & Crafted, on the other hand, will always be a work in process. It's essentially the opposite of LVC, allowing us to be innovative and creative. And that means exploring other non-denim materials as well—twills, chinos and corduroys. We're using elements of the past in all new ways.
In your opinion, what makes a great pair of jeans?
I live and breathe denim everyday and so I could go into a thousand different characteristics, but more than anything, it's you. It's such a personal thing. But I will say that quality is probably most important. And thankfully, a lot of men understand this now. The fact that guys take pride, these days, in having their shoes or jeans repaired instead of replaced says a lot. You'll spend $200 dollars on a pair of Levi's, but they're built to last. If they get a hole, you have them repaired. A beautiful car, sometimes, needs a new tire. There's great pride now in a man saying "I took these shoes to my cobbler and they're like new. How smart am I?"
Levi's has such a legendary archive of historical pieces. What's been your favorite discovery there?
You always remember your first time. Our archivist Lynn Downey was showing me around and she brings me to the five oldest pairs of jeans in existence. For me, after spending 30 years in the industry, just to see them up close and feel them, it was extraordinary. I mean right there, you can see John Wayne, you see 1950s cars on the highway, everything they stand for ... it was just amazing.
Levi's Vintage Clothing 1947 501XX,
$250 at Unionmade
Two years ago, Levi's launched a new premium division called Levi's XX, and recruited Maurizio Donadi from RRL to spearhead it. As the global senior vice president, he oversees Levi's Vintage Clothing and Made & Crafted—two distinct, but equally popular takes on the 142-year-old brand. We caught up with Donadi to talk about the lasting effects of the Americana trend and the benefits of buying pieces of lasting quality.
- Much of the shrink-to-fit selvedge denim is woven at the Cone Mills White Oak Plant in North Carolina.